Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 129

The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was first published at the end of the eighteenth century, and given that the current health crisis is giving too much time to read books, I thought I’d pick a daily word from it until I got bored….


The dictionary definition for this sad phrase is “a dismal countenance. Before, and even long after the Reformation, Friday was a day of abstinence, or jour maigre. Immediately, after the restoration of King Charles II, a proclamation was issued, prohibiting all publicans from dressing any suppers on a Friday”.

I’m not sure I fully understand the context of “dressing a supper”, but dressing used to mean preparing, so I assume it meant that food couldn’t be served at all. It was also men loyal to Cromwell who were puritans, so many were relieved when King Charles II was restored to the throne. Friday was though a fast day for Catholics, which is still seen today with fish being a popular dish on Fridays as that wasn’t banned.

It could have been a ‘Wednesday face’ and ‘Friday face’ though if John Wesley would have gotten his way, he wanted fasting on both of these days. The Wednesday fast would have represented the Betrayal of Christ and the Friday fast would have represented the Death of Christ.